Pixar has created yet another lovable (aka highly marketable) character. This time he’s a small lonely robot named Wall-E cleaning up planet Earth while the humans who ruined it are on a pleasure cruise of sorts. Wall-E’s directive is to create neat little compact boxes of trash and stack them like skyscrapers. He’s efficient and he’s outlasted all his coworkers, but in the many, many years since the Earthlings left he has developed a healthy sense of curiosity. He collects things, almost like Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Plastic cutlery, garden gnomes, Rubik’s cubes, and other things we might call junk are are sorted neatly on shelves in Wall-E’s home.
The plot of WALL-E is fairly simple. Boy meets girl. Girl accomplishes mission on Earth. Boy follows girl back to outer space. Eve, the sleek, white, girl robot, arrives on Earth looking for signs of life. When she finds it, her spaceship returns for her. Wall-E hitches a ride on Eve’s spaceship, only to land on the pleasure cruise the humans are on. The humans have evolved (or devolved, rather) to be naturally “big-boned” and incapable of walking without their floating chairs. They are completely oblivious to everything around them, preferring to communicate through the computer-like screen a foot in front of their face, even when talking to people sitting next to them. The state of the humans is obviously a jab at how unbelievably lazy humans are even today. It poses the unasked question, what would happen if humans didn’t have to walk or cook or even shop? What if everything were as easy as pressing a button? Of course, all of this goes right over the kids’ heads – they just think the fat people falling down are funny.
Eve and Wall-E start their adventure trying to get the small plant that Wall-E found to the right place. In their way are some mean robots, a clueless captain, and plenty of lazy humans. Throughout the movie, Wall-E is looking for love and tries desperately to get Eve’s attention. Along the way they meet several fun robots. My favorite is MO, the little cleaning robot. He’s like an obsessive compulsive Roomba.
The story is cute, though by no means an instant classic. The undertones of environmentalism and human laziness might reach kids on some level, but I doubt they’ll take it as a plea to save the world. Eve is sleek and stylish and a fun character. Wall-E is beyond cute and is a mashup of classic characters like E.T. and the robot-like aliens from Batteries Not Included. Honestly I think I liked the character of Wall-E more than I liked the movie itself. It’s not that the movie was bad. I just would have been entertained by an hour and a half of Wall-E playing with toys like we saw in the promos. I didn’t really need a plot – that’s how cute he is.
It’s definitely a cute flick to take the kiddies to see. If you’ve been as entertained by the previews and promos as I have (aka: smitten with Wall-E) you should go see it. If you’re just vaguely interested, I suggest you wait for DVD.
One last note: the animation is absolutely incredible. There were scenes where I could swear objects and backgrounds were real (not including the actual live-action scenes starring Fred Willard, of course). The views of space and even some of the objects on the cruise ship seemed to come to life, even more so than any Pixar movie before. Not to mention Wall-E himself, who at times almost appears to really be constructed and rolling around.
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